Stability of planets in triple star systems
University of the Witwatersrand, CSAM,
Private Bag 3,
2 Université Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
Accepted: 27 August 2018
Context. Numerous theoretical studies of the stellar dynamics of triple systems have been carried out, but fewer purely empirical studies that have addressed planetary orbits within these systems. Most of these empirical studies have been for coplanar orbits and with a limited number of orbital parameters.
Aims. Our objective is to provide a more generalized empirical mapping of the regions of planetary stability in triples by considering both prograde and retrograde motion of planets and the outer star; investigating highly inclined orbits of the outer star; extending the parameters used to all relevant orbital elements of the triple’s stars and expanding these elements and mass ratios to wider ranges that will accommodate recent and possibly future observational discoveries.
Methods. Using N-body simulations, we integrated numerically the various four-body configurations over the parameter space, using a symplectic integrator designed specifically for the integration of hierarchical multiple stellar systems. The triples were then reduced to binaries and the integrations repeated to highlight the differences between these two types of system.
Results. This established the regions of secular stability and resulted in 24 semi-empirical models describing the stability bounds for planets in each type of triple orbital configuration. The results were then compared with the observational extremes discovered to date to identify regions that may contain undiscovered planets.
Key words: planet / star interactions / binaries: close / planets and satellites: dynamical evolution and stability / methods: numerical / celestial mechanics
© ESO 2018